Nikki Lane is a country recording artist who’s seemingly influenced by anything retro; need proof, listen to her music, check out her fashion style and watch her music videos. Lane’s voice is as sweet as honey. Her sound is country, but with an edge. It’s definitely incapable of being placed inside a box. Nikki’s latest album, “Walk of Shame“, includes everything but an overwhelming about of breakup songs. It delivers variety and depth, and more issues we can all relate to. One word I use to describe this artist and her music is, rarity. There’s something particularly unique about her and that will truly take her global and beyond.
“Walk of Shame” will be available on September 27. In the mean time, check out Nikki’s vintage looking music video for “Gone, Gone, Gone” below, and read the interview to learn more about this inspiring singer:
EY: Tell us where you’re from and when you realized music was your true calling.
NL: I’m originally from South Carolina but after living in Los Angeles and New York I’ve settled in Nashville, TN. It’s what I did following my decision to pursue music full time. I realized music was my new job, when I signed the record deal. It didn’t feel like a calling, just like the next piece of the puzzle. But the more I get emails from fans all over and offers to play good shows, the more I realize, hey, i might actually be good at this singing thing.
EY: You sort of put that calling on hold after landing a job in New York. What made you go back to music?
NL: I’m impulsive. I like to live free and easy, but at the same time I’m very methodical about how one thing will lead to the next. I had just started writing songs when I got the offer to move to New York, there was no question, really, I wanted to go make that money. If I’d have focused on music right then and there, I wouldn’t have gotten four years of wild times in New York City. I mean, that’s what a good portion of this record is about. You gotta live it to be able to talk about it.
“…when I record, and when I write, I keep telling everyone, yeah, it’s country, but make it sound druggy.”
EY: How would you describe your sound?
NL: Well, I say acid country, but fans of Gram Parsons think I’m stealing his words. I don’t know, I’m from the south, when I open my mouth, it just sounds country. But I listen to plenty of rock and roll, plenty of psychedelic music, so when I record, and when I write, I keep telling everyone, yeah, it’s country, but make it sound druggy. We’re not trying to get put in no box here.
EY: In February 2009, you recorded and self-released your first album called “No Room for Cowboys”. Tell us a little about it.
NL: It’s a real country album. I wrote all the songs by myself, holed up in an apartment in NYC. That is, except for Come Away Joe, and two songs of my friends that I covered. It was snowing, I was worn out and heart broken and it made me write. I found the producers, Adam Landry, and Justin Collins on Myspace. I spent two months rent on recording it and hit cancel on my poor landlord for a good while. I got caught up on the rent, and went back to work but people knew that I could write, so it was worth it. That record is what got me to this one. I guess that’s how it goes.
EY: How does your latest album “Walk of Shame” differ from “No Room for Cowboys?”
NL: Walk of Shame was a much more collaborative effort. First of all, I co-wrote a lot of the songs, then, of course, it cost a lot more than two months rent, so the sound was big and I got to work with a lot of people I’d wanted to. I focused more on the topics for the songs; it was more conscious this go round. I knew I had to maximize my impact in 10-12 songs, so I thought more about what I had to say, and tried not to talk about break ups too much.
EY: Is there any song on the new album that stand out to you the most and why?
NL: It depends on the day, in terms of vibe, I can’t help but favor “Gone, Gone, Gone.” There are a lot of musical influences forced into one 3 minute song there, and I was quite addicted to it when I first got the track, but there’s songs like “Save You,” that you just keep going back to, for me because I was looking for a song like that for a long time, and when I wrote it, it became like a little bit of therapy for me to listen to it over and over.
“…you’ll get a lot of 3 minute gems sprinkled with dirt and whiskey and some stories about what happened to us on the drive there.”
EY: Where do you get the inspiration to write?
NL: I think it comes out of nowhere, when you’re in the car and you’re stuck in traffic and day dreaming about swimming at a rock quarry or something, when you’re in line at the coffee shop and you see an old couple holding hands, when you’re drunk as hell tucked in the corner of a bar watching hipsters dancing all around. artists, I think, draw from all things.
EY: And what can be expected of Nikki Lane’s music that can’t be heard from others?
NL: Oh who’s to say, I think you can get a little bit of what I’m giving from all kinds of others. I guess my personal blend might be the only difference. From me, you’ll get a lot of 3 minute gems sprinkled with dirt and whiskey and some stories about what happened to us on the drive there.
EY: How have you evolved as an artist since your debut till now?
NL: Hmm…When was my debut? Gone, Gone, Gone the EP came out this summer and when people liked it so quickly, I had to start learning to play all my songs live on guitar. For me, that was something I didn’t want to work on, so I’ve been playing catch up.
EY: I noticed that you are a vintage lover. Who are some of your influences when it comes to style, and would you ever consider being a fashion designer?
NL: Fashion for me is almost as “number one” as music is. I don’t have particular designers I watch or try to copy, I do have some crushes on stylists. I’ve mentioned them before, but it’s true, they’re the ones I love: Suzanne Ford Carafano of spanishmossvintage, Shae Acopian Detar of everything style, and Leanne Ford Schaffer. I love how all my favorite girls kept their last names as well as their dudes, very independent like.
EY: What’s next for you?
NL: Well, I’m about to be touring most of the year. I just signed a lease on a new storefront for my vintage store High Class Hillbilly, and we’re renovating a trailer to carry around a pile of vintage goods to sell on the road; just focusing on building myself a little business out of making music, so that hopefully I won’t have to pick up so many odd jobs. 8)
Thank you so much for taking the time.
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